Pork stir fry with red wine sauce!

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My favorite smooth, creamy Hummus!

Ok, so really quick. I love Jerusalem Restaurant in Denver http://www.jerusalemrestaurant.com/   (watch out for the music!) and have yet to find anything remotely close here in Austin. So here is a recipe I found while Denver that mimics Jerusalem’s hummus as best I can find. I like to add a little Greek seasoning, onion powder and cumin to taste, but add a little at a time- they can be overpowering without much! And ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS taste as you go along!

Cheers!

-Jessa

1 15 oz can of organic chickpeas

1/4 cup organic tahini (I might up it to 1/3 cup next time)

Juice from 1 lemon (1/4 cup)

2 cloves garlic, crushed
 (Or minced, about 1-2 tsp)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp water

Rinse the beans in a colander with cold water. Try to separate the skins as much as possible, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. This makes a creamier hummus.

In a food processor or blender, combine lemon juice and tahini. Blend for about 30 seconds or so. Then add garlic and water. Blend again. This is way really combines these flavors and is the real secret to creamier hummus.

Next, add the beans- about a handful at a time. Once they are all mixed, use a spatula to push down the stuff that sticks to the walls of the processor/blender. Then add the olive oil and blend for 1-2 minutes. Taste. Add whatever spices you like and then blend again until you get your favorite hummus.

If you like, add paprika and a dash of olive oil on top.

Enjoy!

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Grand Re-Opening

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Wow! It’s been a while. So much has happened. I’ve moved to TX (yea, yea I know, but it’s Austin.), it’s been a busy year. But, that’s no excuse! I’m climbing back up on this horse that I’ve aptly named “Blog” and giving this another shot. So, tonight I’m bringing the thunder and updating on a lot of things all at once. I’ll try to go chronologically.

Denver Restaurant Week 2012

A bit about Restaurant Week. These happen all over the country during some of the slower restaurant seasons to drum up some business and hopefully procure some new patrons. The price, at least in Denver is $52.80 for 2 people and includes a 3+ course meal from a stylized menu. Drinks are not usually included. This is my favorite week all year (besides Thanksgiving, duh) as I can save my meager earnings from the LQ and eat like it’s my last day on earth and some of the top eateries around town. I highly recommend it, but the #1 thing to remember is… treat the staff with respect! They are working their asses off during this time and people still tip like shit. Tip your waitstaff!

Highland Pacific

http://www.highlandpacific.net/

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Check out this amazing restaurant in Denver called Highland Pacific! My friend Ben Stephens and I went here for one of the nights of Restaurant Week. Stunningly fresh oysters from the East and West Coasts of our country. We also divulged in their hush puppies (below), which were by far the best in recent memory. We also had an insanely decadent main course, but by then we were 2 glasses of wine deep and I forgot to photograph the food. Hey- I’m still learning…

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DUO Restaurant

http://duodenver.com/

Next is my favorite, DUO, located in the Highlands. The owners of this place also opened up Olivea off 17th, which has more of a European/Meditteranean menu. Check them out here: http://www.olivearestaurant.com/

Anyway, back to DUO. The chefs are inventive, the menu is seasonal and the food is (when possible) locally sourced. A great place for date night or girls night. Or any night!

The table (actually Ben) decided to splurge on a GREAT bottle of wine, which we accompanied with an amuse bouche of marinated olives. Have I told you how awesome Ben is?

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ImageAfter this amazing meal, everyone was more than satisfied with the treatment we received. The wine was great (yea, that’s the telegramme chateneuf-du-pape, baby.)  the salmon you see here was cooked to perfection with sausage and a red fruit reduction. I’m a lucky girl.

WaterCourse Foods

http://watercoursefoods.com/

Eileen is one of my best girls up there in D-Town. We were both bitching about never doing anything bit bar hopping, so one cold,cold night, we ended up at Watercourse. Yes, it’s vegan/vegetarian, but I swear to god- THE BEST in its class. Miss Eileen had these freaking DELICIOUS Black Bean Tacos. For reals. Amazing.

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I went the heartier route and got the Country Fried Seitan with gravy and green beans. Tasted just like chicken!

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Barley Swine

http://barleyswine.com/

Down here in Austin, my friend John Tomlin introduced me to my favorite. Restaurant. Ever. Barley Swine. I have no photos, but this place is a must. Small and located on S. Lamar next to a killer cheese shop, this mini-strant seats 40 in an intimate setting. Be prepared to wait!!! But it’s worth it. Each ingredient is carefully chosen for its own simple flavors. But when combined- holy god! Unreal. The wine selection does not suck and if you happen to come across a 2003 Munia Reserve 100% Tempranillo somewhere- do yourself a favor and pounce on it! Snatch it up, damnit! What a beautiful expression of a bottle.

Here again is the website to this little gem. If you don’t know, now you know…

http://barleyswine.com/

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Garlic Chicken Stir-fry, Trabanco Cider

Tonight after a busy day at the liquor store (spoiler alert! The Giants won.), I came home with an awesome new cider to try. Some of you may know, but I’m a big cider fan. I like to try all kinds, so tonight I picked up Trabanco “natural” hard cider. Its done in a Lambic style, so its 25 fl. oz. of sour awesome. A touch of sweetness and spices are over-shadowed by tangy Granny Smith apples, so of course I made a spicy Garlic Chicken Stir-fry.

I started with a a chicken breast that has marinated in garlic terriyaki sauce with a little Chinese 5 Spice rub and onion powder. After that was sliced and cooked up, I threw in a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies. I know, I know, it’s not fresh, but it’s what I had. Cooked that in a sauce recipe I got from allrecipes.com (my favorite user-contributed site!) with a few of my own additions (like Sriracha chili), threw down some rice and viola! It’s so freakin’ good. Here is my din-din. Below that is the recipe from allrecipes.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-stir-fry/detail.aspx

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First Post, Cafe/Bar

This is my first blog, so I’m just going to jump right in.

My Mom and I wanted to try somewhere new to eat (which is one of my favorite things to do), so we headed to a new local spot- Cafe/Bar off of Alameda and Pennsylvania. It was home to a newly renovated Pho Pasta, which only lasted a few months until this restaurant took over. We went for the Happy Hour and stayed for the dinner.

We couldn’t decide what to order, and the handsome bartender suggested starting with the rotating sample charcuterie and cheese plate, which was divine. Wild Boar and two cheeses; one dusted with coffee and the other laced with apples and honey. The presentation was classic and simple and that makes me excited for more.

Instead of the longer, more sensually worded version of this first blog that I had originally been writing and accidentally hit the escape button on, I’ll let the pictures and the menu’s own description do the talking.

Acorn Squash Salad- Arugula, golden figs, toasted chestnuts, and caramelized shallots with local honey-rosemary vinaigrette $10

Pork Tenderloin Medallions- Pan seared with cranberry molasses glaze, bacon brased kale and roasted acorn squash  $16

Go to this place. Support out locals. And it’s not such a bad date-night spot either ;)

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